'79 Camaro Project


Just a 1979 Camaro, reborn as a race car in street clothes in a small shop out in the country.

Phase 1: 10 second drag car - You Are Here
Phase 2: Autocross
Phase 3: Land Speed

Check out the blog for updates on what new ways we've found to thrash on it.

Start from the beginning,
Check out the latest here,
Specs are here,
Read the story of the project here.

current state


Solid aluminum bushings
Weld in Competition Engineering SFCs
12 Point Cage - 1 3/4" ERW
Engine Set Back ~1 Inch/Moroso Solid Mounts
Rear Frame Rails Welded to Body
Fabricated Sheet Metal Wheel Tubs

Rear Suspension
Stock Car Products Nascar Truck Trailing Arms
Mono Ball Bushings, Custom Coilover Mounts
200 lb QA1 Coilover 12-way Adjustables
Fabricated Panhard Bar/Shock Crossmember and Mounts
Speedway 11" Disc Brake Setup
Swaybar may be added if necessary

Front Suspension
SPC Adjustable Rod End UCAs
Stock UCA mounts removed, custom geometry
Reinforced Stock Lower Arms
Wilwood 12" Rotors w/Alum Hubs
Wilwood 4 Piston Dynalite Calipers
QA1 Bolt-In 12-way Adjustable Coilovers/450 lb springs
Suspension Techniques 1 1/4" Sway Bar

Chrysler Salsa Red
Harwood Bolt-on 3" Cowl Fiberglass Hood
All trim and emblems removed/filled
Impact bars removed from doors
Fabricated 3/4" Square tube front bumper support
Rear Bumper lightened/Receiver Hitch installed
Cragar Soft 8 - 17x8 / 4 1/2" BS front, 17x9 / 5" BS rear
Sumitomo HTR Z - 245/45 front, 275/40 rear
Summit Fast-Fives - 15x4 front, 15x10 rear
225/65 fronts, M/T ET Drag 28x11.5 rear

377 Cubic Inch Small Block Chevrolet
Built by Acme Performance Engines
  Stock 400 block, 350 crankshaft
Scat 9000 Series Lightweight Crank
Renegade CNC Ported Heads
Mahle lightweight pistons
H-Beam Rods
Just shy of 12:1 compression
Lunati Solid Roller Camshaft
Steel Roller Rockers w/ Stud Girdles
MSD Digital 6+/MSD with adj. Timing Retard
MSD Pro-Billet Distributor
Professional Products Hurricane Intake
1970's Holley 850
Hooker 1 5/8" Super Comp Headers
Pypes 3" X-Pipe/Oval Exit Low Profile SpinTechs
Northern Aluminum Radiator & Fan Shroud
Flex-A-Lite Black Magic Extreme Electric Fan

Tremec TKO600
Lakewood Bellhousing
Fidanza 13 lb. Aluminum Flywheel
Centerforce DFX Clutch
Drag Race:
70's Turbo 350 B&M Shift Kit 8" Torque Converter
  Originally set up for a BBC w/ transbrake
9 Inch Ford rear end
  Moser nodular case
  Daytona pinion support

Aluminum Sheet Dash
Racepak UDX Street Dash
Moroso Switch Panel
APC Race Seats
RCI 3" 5-point harnesses Lowe's Attic insulation Lowe's black Indoor/Outdoor carpet
Fabricated Steel Shift handle w/ Hurst Pistol Grip Knob
Indoor/Outdoor black carpet
Lots, and lots of tubing and Kirkey Padding

Where It Started
The story of this car starts with a 63 Chevy truck.  How does that work?  The truck was our first massive undertaking.  Long story short, the truck took 4 years to rebuild, and after its completion, 2 Power Tours, and a few car shows, we got kind of bored.  There were two options before us - make the truck fast, which would be an uphill battle and ruin the drivability of it, or start another project.  Enter the Camaro...

The Victim
The car had been sitting in a shop for around 10 years when we got it in July 2005.  Its owner had refused to sell it to a few dirt racers who just wanted to, in his words, "cut it up." We told him of our plans (sort of..) and took it home.  Luckily, sitting inside over the years had kept it virtually rust free.

On to the Work
Tear down started as soon as we got home, and the brainstorming began.  We knew we wanted something that would be quick, but in what way?  The logical choice would have been a simple roll cage, Caltracs, slicks, and a severe weight reduction plan.  Nobody ever accused us of being logical, though.  After some discussion, we decided that building half a car (drag only), was not an option.  We wanted to build a car for everything - drag, autocross, top speed runs, and some road course time.  So we moved to our first giant question mark: What to do with the suspension?

Armed only with tight pockets, determination, a bit of inspiration from the Formula D Camaro featured in Hot Rod Magazine, and pictures of a few other truck arm installs, we decided that the car would match the truck. This decision would seal the fate of our next 2 years in the shop. What sounded like a great idea turned into an amazing, often overwhelming amount of work doing what we came to refer to as 'stuffing 38 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack.'

Within weeks the parts arrived, and it quickly became apparent why we couldn't find another second gen F-Body with this setup installed - there's just not any room for the traditional coil setup. After much head scratching and a bit of arguing (ok, maybe more than a bit), the proper combination of QA1 coilovers, panhard bar mounts, crossmembers and a fuel cell was concocted.

Naturally, after two years of custom fab in the back of the car, it would have been just silly to stick any of the stock pieces back on the front. We ordered a suspension program and set to measuring, marking, measuring some more, and finally cutting. After several combinations, and some peeking at a few dirt cars, moving the mounting points down to the frame itself appeared to be the way to go, and the program confirmed our hunch. With loads of camber gain and a generous amount of caster adjustability, this setup looks on paper and at the drag strip to be very effective. We'll find out for sure once the drag racing bug subsides and we get some fat sticky tires strapped on all four corners.

Aftermarket lowers were a considerat, but for both street durability (we've put over 2,000 miles on the car as of May 2011) and budget considerations, we did added some bracing to the stock ones, threw in a set of steel bushings, and called it a day. Wilwood 12" discs were bolted up and all new Moog steering hardware tacked on, and we finally dropped it to the ground. Two years of work suddenly had quite a bit of attitude, and big smiles were had for several days afterward.

Acme Performance Engines